Post submitted by
Strong Momma, Jenna
A balanced diet plays a major role when it comes to learning and behavior in and out of the classroom. Packing lunches full of soda, sugar, and processed foods are proven to get in the way of concentration and retaining information, which has become all too common in today’s schools.
Imagine having to sit in a meeting after having coffee, chocolate, a sub, and chips for lunch? You would start out with shaking legs and playing with pens caps, followed by the struggle to keep your eyes open from the sudden crash of energy.
What we need to focus on is supplying our children with whole foods for steady energy (blood sugar) and focus, proper hydration, and enough movement outside to help with anxiety while sitting at their desk.
What the schools will not provide, has to be done at home.
1. Eat A Hearty Breakfast.
~A bowl of whole grain cereal with milk of choice, sliced banana and blueberries. Some great choices are Barbara’s Puffins, Purely O’s , Cheerios, and Kashi Whole Grain Puffs. You want to look for less than 10g of sugar, at least 3g of fiber and protein, as well as known ingredients, whole grains being number one. No artificial colors or preservatives.
~Oatmeal, Steel Cut Oats, or Oat bran with silvered almonds and a pinch of brown sugar
~Whole grain toast with nut butter and banana slices
~Whole wheat wrap with scrambled eggs and 1 oz of cheese
~Whole wheat waffles,french toast, or pancakes with fresh fruit and dollop of yogurt.
~Greek or Non Fat Yogurt with sliced strawberries, granola, and cinnamon. Make it into a parfait to look kid friendly.
~Cottage cheese with melon and a side of wheat toast
~Scrambled eggs with toast and turkey bacon
~A smoothie made with any frozen fruits, 1/2 cup plain yogurt and 1/2 cup water (or 1 cup milk of choice), 1/4 cup raw oats and ice. My favorite is 1/2 frozen banana, 1/2 cup strawberries, 1 cup almond milk, and 1/4 cup oats. Add spinach for a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals!
2. An Afternoon Pick Me Up
~Carrot and celery sticks, or an apple, with nut butter
~Raw vegetables and whole wheat crackers with Hummus
~Frozen grapes with plain yogurt
~Dried fruit and nuts
~Whole grain crackers and string cheese
~Graham crackers with banana slices and peanut butter
Also send them with a water bottle full of lemons, limes, or orange slices so they can refill and drink all day.
3. A Legitimate Lunch
~Whole grain pasta salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and hardboiled eggs. Side of berries and a few dark chocolate chips
~Nut butter and jelly on a whole wheat wrap. Side of raw veggie sticks and an apple.
~Turkey and cheese roll ups with a side of cherry tomatoes, bell pepper sticks, and an orange.
~Almond butter and dried cranberries on whole wheat. Side of carrot and celery sticks.
~Tuna salad made with 1 Tbsp Greek yogurt, a pinch of black pepper and chopped celery, rolled onto a whole wheat wrap with lettuce and tomato. Side of grapes.
Use Tupperware that has separate compartments for convenience and fun! Do not start the habit that lunch needs chips and dessert. The crunch will come from vegetables and the sweetness from fruit.
4. Be Active After School
Video and computer games should not take over the rest of the their day. Movement is so important. An after dinner walk or bike ride is a great habit to install.
5. A Helping Hand
Allow your kids to help you make dinner. This will teach them how to create a healthy and balanced meal, which they will later create on their own. Think lean proteins, veggies, healthy fats, and complex carbs
6. Early to bed, Early to rise
Make sure your students get at least 7-8 hours of sleep. We all know how hard it is to concentrate when exhaustion strikes! Set up a nighttime routine, such as reading a story or coloring, to relax the mind. Over time, their body will begin to learn this process, making it easier to fall asleep.
Most importantly, BE THE EXAMPLE. Show your children that eating healthy, getting enough sleep, and exercising are all necessary to perform at your best.
They are always watching!